Tuesday, 28 January 2014

A Little Help From My Friends

My partner does not drive. It's never been an issue between us. It is just the way it is. He is the king of public transport and cannot understand car drivers obsession with using their cars at every opportunity when they could savour the delights of rail travel of which he does a lot - whereas I like the freedom that having a car gives you to just get up and go not relying on anyone else except your own horse power. When I first met him I wasn't a great proponent of public transport, but over the years he has won me over and we now balance our trips between the car, trains and buses. There have been some times when I have wished I had been in the car when trains have been delayed, cancelled or overcrowded, but on the whole our transport arrangement seems to work well for us.

Well up until now. Though actually that's not strictly true. When I was pregnant with our son I spent many a sleepless night wondering when the time came how would we get to hospital. My partner took great delight in recounting his experiences with his ex-wife when she went into labour with their daughter and how they had gone to the hospital on the bus! Well she was a braver person than me that's for sure. I had even toyed with a home birth which terrified us both but would mean no need for any bus trips or anxieties around travel plans on my part. However our bathroom deciding to malfunction on a magnificent scale put pay to that. No easy access to running water, a new unpacked bathroom suite in the room that I had decided to give birth in and no plumber free until after Christmas to plumb it all in (way after my due date) really hammered the nail into the coffin of that brainwave. Thankfully (though not sure if thankful is the right word) my son had no intention of coming out on his due date or anywhere near to it so I was induced. One of our lovely neighbours took us and picked us up afterwards so transportation dilemma was well and truly averted. 

However I find myself three years later again bemoaning silently and in that kind of crazy 'muttering under your breath way though hoping it's slightly audible' that my partner still doesn't drive and yet again I face the prospect of bus travel from my home to Brighton to the cancer centre. It is
compounded by the fact that I have no idea what to expect. I might be able to get myself there a back
in the car, but one thing I do know is that for me public transport is not an option. My health and wellbeing will undoubtedly deteriorate as time progresses and I do not want to share this with the general public. So I need a plan. And that plan involves in the words of the Fab Four or Joe Cocker if you prefer, getting 'A Little Help From My Friends'.

And what top friends they turn out to be. As quickly as my call to arms goes out I am inundated with offers. I have to say it was quite overwhelming. I know I am incredibly blessed with fantastic friends, but I don't think I was quite prepared for the onslaught and immediacy of the replies. In my panic and harbouring the theory that a greater reach would yield more positive responses, I had done a kind of blanket bombing on the email and texting front. So not only did my 'old muckers' (a term heaped with endearing love and affection always) get back to me, but also friends I had made more recently which I found quite amazing. Getting responses back from people who really hardly knew me but still wanted to help me meant the world to me. For all the crushing loneliness of this illness there are
moments like this that just make you feel that you are wrapped in love and maybe not so alone as you thought you were. It's these precious moments that keep you going during the lonely unknown
months of treatment. Knowing that there is a band of beautiful people who will do what they can to make this journey (or in my case gap year) go as well as it can. Even writing about it after all this time I can feel the enormity and emotion of knowing that and can feel tears welling up because if it wasn't for all those wonderful people who accompanied me on those treatment trips with so much love, compassion and humour I don't think I would have fared as well as I did.

So this post is dedicated to all you wonderful people. You know who you are but just in case you've forgotten (and I never will) thank you from the bottom of my heart - Jo, Caroline, Donna, Vic, Susie, Anna, Charlie and Mike. Thank you, thank you, thank you...

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